Dusty Wright's Culture Catch - Smart Pop Culture, Video & Audio podcasts, Written Reviews in the Arts & Entertainment http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/feed en The Darkness of Old Shadows http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3962 <span>The Darkness of Old Shadows</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>August 3, 2020 - 10:04</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z3bBJ8wmPPU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>NANCY PRIDDY: <em>You've Come This Way Before</em> (Modern Harmonic)</strong></p> <p>Although Nancy Priddy is primarily known as an actress, (<em>Bewitched</em>, <em>The Waltons,</em> and <em>Married...With Children</em>, to name but three) in the 1960s she also pursued a career as a recording artist. Initially in The Bitter End Singers whose blend of folk-pop hasn't aged particularly well via their brace of albums and a handful of largely forgettable 45s. Curios rather than classics. She sang backing vocals on Leonard Cohen's <em>Songs Of</em>, hung out with and dated Stephen Stills, Buffalo Springfield's "Pretty Girl Why" was written about her, and she was here, there and everywhere. </p> <p>Priddy possessed d the looks to be a muse, and  also via the good luck and vibe of the era made an album of her own <em>You've Come This Way Before </em>(CD/LP) that has over the years become recognised as a respected and desired artefact of the psych-folk genre. Difficult to find and expensive if one had the luck to do so, it has finally been revived, faithfully repackaged on vinyl and released on cd, and not before time. If slightly dislocated, kooky female fare is your opiate of choice, it is a treat, and if it isn't you are in for a feast and a surprise with a charmingly executed piece of sublime baroque fare.</p> <p>Priddy stares languidly out from the cover. Beautiful, poised and direct, but in a faraway way. There but somewhere else, an impression that continues with what emerges from between the grooves. Her voice is wistful, spooky and hauntingly appealing. She resides somewhere in the milieu of Nancy Sinatra and the only recently rediscovered Lynn Castle, it is a strange confection.</p> <p>Opening with the title track, a quirky Tim Hardin jazziness colludes with the pop breeziness of the Fifth Dimension. Slightly out of sync in vibe, Priddy's voice has a girlish clipped-ness that compliments the lyrical content, even if it seems darkly out of vibe with the positivity of the time.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Our pathways are magnetic.</p> <p>Our logic is synthetic</p> <p>Our struggle is so pathetic and a bore."</p> </blockquote> <p>It is followed by "Ebony Glass" and again a bleakness of perspective is suggested in the name. It is a strange madrigal of a song, a cross between a series of spooked wishes and malevolent incantations. With its nursery rhymes conceit her voice pipes and swoops in what is a bad trip of a song. T.S. Eliot and his Wasteland laid bare.</p> <blockquote> <p>"With ebony stars and ebony jade,</p> <p>This is the way the world was made.</p> <p>And ebony sounds and ebony glass,</p> <p>Bursting into ebony gas.</p> <p>this is the way the world ends.</p> <p>this is the way the world ends</p> <p>this is the way the world ends."</p> </blockquote> <p>"Mystic Lady" has a dislocated pop sensibility as it slips from up-tempo sunshine catchiness to a kooky sense of introspection. Trippy and spooky it slips between dark contemplation to positivity. All tightly reigned in but all over the place at the same time it is an interesting exercise in precision and madness</p> <blockquote> <p>"Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross</p> <p>And see what they've lost.</p> <p>ladybug, ladybug</p> <p>don't go home....</p> <p> </p> <p>For the asking why</p> <p>And the weary eyes</p> <p>Stay my lady.</p> <p>For the wondering wheres</p> <p>And the nothing theres</p> <p>Pray my lady.</p> <p>For the falling downs</p> <p>And the never founds</p> <p>Stay my lady."</p> </blockquote> <p>There is an implicit gospel element, but only briefly, as it fades away.</p> <p>Then we enter "Christina's World," one of ethereal psych postcard images that suggests Bobbie Gentry in cahoots with "White Rabbit" era Jefferson Airplane.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Yesterday - miles away</p> <p>Suns fall down -</p> <p>Green grass turning brown</p> <p>Christina's world - was a world of 'Mustn't cry'....</p> <p>Empty rooms and yellow lace."</p> </blockquote> <p>A song whose sunlight has been edged with darkness.</p> <p>''We Could Have It All' is a neat piece of girl pop with a marching tempo undercurrent and anthem-like refrain that could have been at home in the songs from the musical <em>Hair</em>. A rare blast of positivity in a collection riven with suggestions of calamity. Things take an odd detour once more with "My Friend Frank" -- a tune that is simply odd and not at home with itself. It sounds like the cast-off from an off of off Broadway show and is the weakest cut with its mixture of jazzy freed and up-tempo cheesiness. A song about someone not having either a good trip or a neat time, it sounds like a lampoon of the sixties it has arisen from</p> <p>There's a "Taste Of Honey" beauty and sophistication to "O Little Child." A liltingly beautiful effort it again reveals a certain lyrical starkness that is carried by the elegance of the melody and the arrangement.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Yours is a season of dew on the vine -</p> <p>Mine is stained with the grapes of an old ageing wine</p> <p>O, blessed be the hours of the absence of time."</p> </blockquote> <p>"And Who Will You Be Then?" skips into life like an accusatory question. A dark little cabaret-style number with a faintly gothic vibe.</p> <blockquote> <p>"See that face in the looking glass,</p> <p>As it looks at you today.</p> <p>Watch the eyes, and just try to guess,</p> <p>All that they're dying to say."</p> </blockquote> <p>It darkens as it goes along, a little like a letter from a girl whose been locked in a cupboard for a time, but all for her own betterment and self-improvement.</p> <p>There's a sixties pop fluidity and vibrancy that ducks and dives in "On The Other Side Of The River" but it still manages to sound faintly misaligned, as if though it is spinning just lightly, but rather perfectly off of centre. The album concludes with "Epitaph" which glides a slightly classical piano craziness. Vocally delivered in a throwaway and couldn't care less manner it slides away as a rather unsatisfactory but beautiful ending like Tori Amos in free-fall.</p> <p>Too arch to have ever actually sold in huge numbers, that is precisely why it all still resonates today. A product of the time but one that was primarily out of step with what was required or expected for it to gain success. To be an album recorded by a young woman at the height of flower power it is obtusely dark and self reliant. Love is barely mentioned, if it is even considered at all. There is no suggestion of a broken heart, lost love letters or the hope for happiness in the future. This is a cold, icy affair of the art. Short, mannered and distant and one that beguiles with its world of weary and abstracted disenchantments. Nothing that it should or could have been, it is precisely all the better for being itself.</p> <p>Nancy Priddy didn't make another album for almost forty years. On the strength of this one she'd already staked her claim and made her mark. It would find its own place in time, and half a century on is now beginning to. Its title is both an answer and a perfect means of introduction.</p> <p> </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3962&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="0VFI7l_6IPlNIFx8Vv2xCXrpsHWF70Ok5qqeBfw_O-M"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 03 Aug 2020 14:04:32 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3962 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3962#comments A Maid From Then & A Maid For New http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3961 <span>A Maid From Then &amp; A Maid For New</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>July 28, 2020 - 10:49</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/145" hreflang="en">alternative rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wCNQBTjInHg?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Fruupp: <em>Maid In Ireland (</em>Cherry Red Records)</strong></p> <p>If good things come to those that wait Fruupp have in many ways served their time in the game of patience. Last year saw their entire output given the box-set treatment. Four albums, refined and eclectic in nature remastered, but with no new morsel from the vaults to enhance the pleasure of such a compliment. Hot on its heels comes <em>Maid In Ireland</em>, a compilation that can only serve two purposes. Either as a primer for beginners unfamiliar with their rich offerings, or a bauble to beguile their completists. Vinyl copies of their output have rocketed in price in recent years, so if you are arriving as a curious novice, this is the purchase with which to begin your education. Compiled by Paul Charles, their former manager and collaborator, a man blessed with a good memory for detail and diligence, virtues that have gifted him the role of Fruupp's scribe and Boswell.</p> <p>Northern Ireland wasn't a suitable home for a band of their kind. They didn't do a neat line in country and western, hadn't a catalogue of covers to placate a restless crowd. and there was nothing cabaret or cruise ship in their repertoire. They left their native shore and headed towards London like four Irish Dick Whittington's in search of something more. Their foppish romantic classicism was strikingly odd in a province that had begun the long sad process of tearing itself to pieces. Such refinement was a direct rebellion of psyche and sentiment. to the backdrop that had initially spawned them. Mysticism, a touch of folklore and penchant for elegant piano didn't gel terribly well with, bombings, strife and sectarian murders. Ambition meant a term of semi-permanent exile. Following in the foot-prints of Them, Dr Strangely Strange, Taste, and Thin Lizzy, as well as a myriad of others, they hit the metropolis, secured a deal with Dawn Records, and what happened there after is what is compiled revisited on this new offering.</p> <p>Things kick off with the breezy and up-tempo "Janet Planet" a mix of keyboard jauntiness and a coach and horses drum motif and bass driven intro. ELO with a touch of 10cc. The song a ditty for Van Morrison's Laurel Canyon lover and muse, it should have been a single, but only appeared as one in the Irish Republic. "Decision" is a rumbling monolith of a song, proof positive they were a consummate rock band beneath their refinements but it has so many elements that take it beyond any pedestrian journey, Screeching guitar from Vincent McCusker, crazy strings, a pastoral psyche interlude, then banshee-like wailing ghosts above the rumbling drums. It is also home to one of the best screams ever committed to vinyl thanks to Peter Farrelly at one crucial dramatic point letting his tonsils rip. A relentless and passionate effort. </p> <p>"Three Spires" implies a suggestion of Yes at their most refined at its heart, but it leans more towards their Italian contemporaries PFM who dwelt within the same elements of classical pastoral refinement.. There is also a late- period Beatles edge to the song's conclusion. "White Eyes" too operates with in the same subdued and mannered eclecticism. Oboe and guitar blend into a fleeting reflectiveness before Farrelly pipes into action and the whole thing is suggestive of a Irish collision between Chopin and Bach. Things couldn't get much more considered as it drifts off into a loose jazz-combo amble.</p> <p>In "Sheba's Song" there gleams an element of Supertramp in its relaxed and confident swirl of keyboards, with the guitar sound suggesting Focus, and a lovely sense of jazziness from the sparkling illusions from the electric ivories of the late John Mason. Peter Farrelly is a uniquely sensitive singer, his voice glides melds and soars in cahoots with the the rich tapestry of music, to which he also adds some sublime bass notes. Epic and controlled it is a song that is perfectly taut in its seemingly languid execution. "Wise As Wisdom" emerges like the intro to a ballet and builds into a mini opera with a Stranglers-like organ motif and wistful  layered vocals. Restrained and classy with an unusual toy-town cohesion between the bass,, keyboards and percussion. Elements occur and repeat like a refined classical jig. A deceptively effortless execution, and one that reveals the band at the height of their cohesive powers.</p> <p>"Knowing You" stands as a particularly baroque laden song graced with space and a perfect melody it builds like a hymn, neatly underscored by Stephen Houston astute sense of piano and oboe. Melancholy it drifts along and then lets fly with another perfect shout from Peter Farrelly it sounds like the song to close a massive stage production with. Florid, fey and effortlessly flowing it really tugs at the heart strings as it drives itself to a conclusion egged on by Farrelly's exceptionally tender and laconic vocal. It exits with a dervish-like palette of  voices before he again strides in like a strident chorister as power chords abound. Slicing guitar licks slice and dice with empathic drum rolls. </p> <p>A neat similarity of tone allows "Graveyard Epistle" to sweep in, glistening amongst it's keyboard embellished beauty, before rumbling into a reel of jazz and Eastern elements, suggestive of dervishes in full whirl and swirl guided by Martin Foye's perfectly paced drumming. All hits a crazy Irish reel-like bridge and back to Farrelly at his angelic best, and finally to a manic conclusion like Riverdance on acid. Proceedings wind to goodnight and goodbye with the up-tempo "Prince Of Heaven" a synopsis of their concept album of the same name, and their sole UK single. It fits perfectly as a conclusion, and leaves the listener, like Oliver Twist, wanting and hoping for more.</p> <p>I approached this selection with a certain degree of scepticism and suspicion, but Paul Charles has done a mindfully difficult job in creating a sense of cohesion with songs that were never destined to be combined. It is refreshing to hear them in their rearranged contexts. He has carefully dressed certain jewels and they sparkle still, giving a sense of freshness to the songs. Fruupp never were press darlings. The beard-strokers of the day either sneered at their kookiness or damned them with faint praise and in doing so missed the point completely. Outsiders at home, they were more, but never altogether at home in London. Punk saw them fall apart in 1976. </p> <p>Their music remains vital, varied and supremely gifted. It speaks loud and clear in the present day and that's because it has one thing that cannot be crafted, bought or cultivated. Integrity travels lightly through time, and therefore their efforts have a permanent ticket to ride.</p> </div> <section> <a id="comment-2077"></a> <article data-comment-user-id="0" class="js-comment"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1596061270"></mark> <div> <h3><a href="/index.php/comment/2077#comment-2077" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Fruupp fans. </a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This is the link to the official Fruupp Facebook group if anyone is interested in keeping up with the latest news and archives. https://www.facebook.com/groups/63773410349/</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2077&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="4CoprOwkcV74LYRc4VSiCGRpPEuZpes-EIfQSCChAXc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/extra_small/public/default_images/avatar.png?itok=RF-fAyOX" width="50" height="50" alt="Generic Profile Avatar Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> <p>Submitted by <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/63773410349/" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brian O&#039;Neill</a> on July 29, 2020 - 18:09</p> </footer> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3961&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="ZVRAaBGx_KCf4NdoVemuznqlbenZNdOuZuyjEh9nXF8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 28 Jul 2020 14:49:59 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3961 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3961#comments Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3960 <span>Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>July 27, 2020 - 06:48</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/262" hreflang="en">Americana</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tjZD_uLokzg?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>"Frank Lloyd’s Revenge, (the Tulsa Massacre of 1921)" </strong></p> <p><strong>Scott Baxendale </strong></p> <p>History always has been a skewed vortex, collated by the victors, excluding irksome narratives that wrinkle the supposedly smooth fabric of society. We are as children spoon-fed the myths and half-truths as a kind of benign dogma. Santa Claus exists along with the Tooth Fairy, and Christopher Columbus discovered America. The final fanciful fact belittles and eradicates the rights of the people who were already there on land that had been and was still rightfully theirs. The same applies to the Aztec and Inca populations of South America. The Aborigines of Australia. A list, long and sorrowful of Western arrogance, of theft and exploitation. </p> <p>The death of George Floyd, played out and replayed on a loop of shock across the world, has ignited a sense of rightful outrage and a desire to redefine, challenge, and analyse the past we are left to live with. Statues we walk past every day have begun to fall. It is no longer acceptable to ignore the canker beneath the gloss of bronze and marble.</p> <p>Many years ago I was fortunate to catch the esteemed Canadian novelist Robertson Davies do a reading. The blurb on the flyer stated, "He writes like an angel and looks like God" which was the truth wrapped up in a neat remark. He read from one of his novels where a group of students under the cover of the night, dismantle and replace the plaques on statues. In the morning and in the succeeding days, no-one notices this minor act of humorous vandalism. It however made and continues to make a moot point. What was once sufficiently revered to be commemorated, with time slips from memory and becomes irrelevant. It is there simply because it exists. Marooned in a sea of contemporary amnesia and disinterest. </p> <p>Once begun, such backwards glances shine disconcerting lights into equally unpalatable corners. Many sacred and revered figures become unstable on their plinths. Winston Churchill, the epitome of whatever it was that made Britain great, had a wealth of unsavoury opinions and deeds. Be it the creation of what were the first concentration camps during the Boer War, or his attitude towards the striking miners of Wales whose stomachs he wished to fill with lead, and the people of India and Africa who sadly suffered such a fate. In more recent times his self-proclaimed heir Margaret Thatcher had her own troubles with miners, created the iniquitous, socially divisive Poll Tax, and the notorious, thankfully repealed, Clause 28 which forbade the teaching, or the mere mention of anything related to homosexuality in the classroom. This from a woman who was friends with the notorious sexual abuser Jimmy Savile, sufficiently so to entertain him over Christmas, yet managed to protect and absolve her Parliamentary Private Secretary, the late Sir Peter Morrison, a man whose interest in young boys was well known, but who was, even when caught, continued to go unpunished on account of his importance to his employer.</p> <p>In America, Roy Cohn, actively gay, but in the closet, affiliate and cohort of Senator Joe McCarthy, was responsible for the hounding, exposure and sacking of scores of gay men. Cohn succumbed to Aids in 1986. Minorities were always easy targets for the self-righteous and the opportunistic. They wielded no power and couldn't effectively fight back.</p> <p>During lockdown the thing that having time on ones hands permits is to stumble across new information, most of it illuminating, but some so shocking one is left to ponder why such a cataclysmic event could have been erased from wider public memory.</p> <p>Singer and guitarist Scott Baxendale has written a perfect elegy for one such incident. Like Vic Chestnuut in cahoots with Nick Cave he eloquently questions the absence of what transpired in Tulsa almost a century ago, from recognition and recall. With the very public passing of George Floyd, mentions began to surface of the Tulsa Riot, and the hushed up deaths of hundreds. By received and conventional wisdom, Pearl Harbour was the first time America was bombed from the air. It was actually in 1921, near the birth of wartime flying, and the recipients of such action were American citizens, at least three hundred of them, and the obliteration of a district that was both prosperous and thriving. </p> <p>This shocking blemish on America's soul has been covered up. Newspaper reports have vanished from archives, the inflammatory journalism in the <em>Tulsa Tribune</em> that provoked and unleashed this act of brief, but successful genocide no longer exists. Yet Richard Jones, the reporter responsible is revered still in Tulsa, was gifted a house there by his cousin the architect Frank Lloyd Wright for his services to the town, post the incident, and remains a venerated citizen. Things only get hidden and removed because of a sense of shame. Jones even built a church even though the impact of his bile-laden journalism saw a fine one burn. His esteemed cousin had lost his mistress Mamah Borthwick murdered by a black servant, along with six others in 1914. Frank Lloyd Wright was no friend of minorities.</p> <p>In Tulsa only now are initiatives afoot to deal with the incident that began over a white girl screaming in a lift in 1921. The mere proximity of a black boy to a white girl was sufficient to inflame simmering hatreds. She later refused to press any charges. Her supposed assailant Dick Rowland was the son of a prominent businessman in the district known as Black Wall Street and was in police custody for his own protection. A deputation from the area arrived to seek reason, but Smith's shoddy racist journalism was already in print suggesting "Nab Negro" and thus things escalated. The black community was destroyed for trying to defend itself. They weren't rioting, they were simply being eradicated.</p> <p>Sometimes it is best to forget, but mostly remembering is a painful obligation that the living owe the dead. Tulsa should be taught across the world, it presently is a negated footnote. Unsavoury people are equally capable of good acts and therein lies the problem in apportioning blame and handing down judgement. Some actions betray the reason for a febrile society, and their negation simply compounds that as the ultimate act of disrespect. </p> <p>A song is perhaps the best means to stir a slow, but certain reaction. Scott Baxendale's measured gothic ballad deserves to be that provocation. Only time will tell if it helps to reveal what hasn't yet hasn't already been properly divulged. A National Day of Remembrance from now on on June 1st would be a fitting and respectful start.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3960&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="iVzBHuudeFwq-6J_rT2lagQ1U9fTkbqsM8LbTQttJFk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 27 Jul 2020 10:48:15 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3960 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3960#comments A Splendid New Beginning http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3958 <span>A Splendid New Beginning</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>July 23, 2020 - 20:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/629" hreflang="en">prog rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WB0bGpTk0rw?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><em>By Name. By Nature </em>- THAT JOE PAYNE (TJP 001)</p> <p>Joe Payne a.k.a. THAT JOE PAYNE is a man whose vision and ambition is in equal measure with his talent, which is a good thing as few acts could create and sustain his opulent and mannered tapestry of delights. He makes Coldplay sound like a scratch orchestra with his first offering since departing from Prog Institution that is, and remains The Enid. Their first resident vocalist during their forty-five plus years, after six albums it was time to go solo.</p> <p>Two and a half years in the making, and the evidence of his recovery from a breakdown, <em>By Name. By Nature</em> is a dizzyingly varied stab at immortality. An autobiographical extravaganza from a richly embellished portfolio, his is a perfect collision between theatrical sensibilty and the world of song. The collection has a neat archness. At times a self-regarding exercise, it is as critical as it is honest. Far from shy and retiring it makes a bigger splash than anything you'll encounter this year. A gaudy rainbow of audacity and doubt, it twitches with ideas and delivers and develops a variety of moods from his rich interior world. As lyrically honest as it is a total BIG production, a glitzy roller-coaster of a record.</p> <p>Opening with "The Thing About Me Is" Payne reveals:</p> <blockquote> <p>"The thing about me is</p> <p>I'm too insecure</p> <p>No wonder no-one likes me</p> <p>I guess I'm all yours"</p> </blockquote> <p>A brutally honest, yet rather witty put down, isn't how most artists would introduce their debut. It neatly slides into "By Name. By Nature" a choir drenched collision of Barry Manilow in bed with Electric Light Orchestra and Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. Plainly deranged, it is a busy, frantic burst into being and alerts the listener to fact that are in the presence of a musical eccentric with a wide array of influences. Baton down the hatches a ton of glitter balls are spinning and cascading. The lyrics betray his sense of self-dismantling</p> <blockquote> <p>"That Joe Payne</p> <p>Is a real bad loser</p> <p>He's a Payne by name </p> <p>And he'll only use you"</p> </blockquote> <p>The laddie as a tramp, and a thoroughly disreputable one in his opinion. West End meets East End with a dose of old Hollywood and a fizz of immodest panache. It keeps spiralling long after it has disappeared along with its "Sparky's Magic Piano" motif. The late lamented Jobriath attempted such a stab at rock and theatrical panache almost a half century ago and was immolated by the critics. Payne won't suffer the same fate. Times have fortunately changed, and he is an open book who isn't apologising for being himself. Jobriath antagonised. Payne simply mesmerises as is apparent with "Nice Boy," a piece of Hip Hop backbeat and Steinski-like blips and electronic hiccups and blasts it all with a choir to boot.</p> <blockquote> <p>"They tell me I'm worthless.</p> <p>They tell me I'm dumb...</p> <p>They tell me I'd be nothing</p> <p>Without someone...</p> <p>They tell me I'm a bad boy.</p> <p>They say that I'm gay,</p> <p>They say I don't belong here...</p> <p>O.K."</p> </blockquote> <p>A breathlessly manic but totally inspired outburst instilled with wry lyrical dissections.</p> <p>"In My Head" is a perfect taking down of the frenetic tone. An almost monastic array of voices are the trampoline from which Payne arcs and soars and betrays the rich tonality of his voice, it suggests the refined baroque elements of Japan and Talk Talk. Again the lyrics belie a certain honesty of spirit. </p> <blockquote> <p>"Nothing's under the bed....</p> <p>You shouldn't be upset</p> <p>They say it's all in your mind</p> <p>It's all in your head"</p> </blockquote> <p>The song also suggests Freddie Mercury at his most reflective best, and Rufus Wainwright devoid of the showiness that sometimes spoils the impact of his songs. "With What Is The World Coming To" Payne shines with all his song-craft and sense of intense melody. Think Keith West's maverick "Excerpt From A Teenage Opera." </p> <blockquote> <p>"I keep feeling lo-loneliness</p> <p>I keep feeling low</p> <p>I keep feeling lo-loneliness</p> <p>Never needed nothing to believe in"</p> </blockquote> <p>Melancholy with a plethora of power chords, and choral beauty. An ear-worm of a song that wakes one up in the morning running around your brain. A jaunty and confident masterpiece, visionary and extraordinary and possessed with a subtle confidence and a cushion of choirs. The presence of Celine Dion's drama pervades, but without ever descending into Maria Carey's warbling histrionics. Payne is also the possessor of a four octave range. He pipes it at the conclusion with the grace of the caged bird that sings. "Love (Not The Same)" is a perfect collision of old standards like "Anyone Who Had A Heart" and "Love Letters."  An extraordinary power ballad to weep into your gin, a song about loving someone simply because you fancy them, and that's you sole source of commonality. </p> <blockquote> <p>"And love </p> <p>I would love to be through with it</p> <p>But I cannot tear away from it</p> <p>It's a funny thing."</p> </blockquote> <p>The song is neatly aided and abetted by the perfectly pitched Ms Amy Birks who is a neat counterpoint to Payne's brilliant bombast. The song that exits in a screech of frustration. all perfectly pitched of-course, and alone, well worth purchasing the album for. It flies so high it is in danger of entering another world.</p> <p>A perfectly honest ballad with a churning melody to die for "I Need A Change" has had all its drama pills as it weaves its way along Payne's descent into a nervous breakdown. A goodbye cruel world malady and one he was lucky to survive just as we are privy to experience the artistry he has distilled from it. Sad, destructive, and dangerous experiences can be transfigured to become things of grace, but only in the right hands where it is transcended by an opulence of touch. His wounded soul is our reward, but comes at a price from the muse that gifts accordingly.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Dear life I'm leaving you</p> <p>Cos I have no reason to stay...</p> <p>The black dog bites</p> <p>He puts up quite a fight</p> <p>He looks at me with those sad eyes."</p> </blockquote> <p>A perfect transcendent journey of a tune.</p> <p>"End Of The Tunnel" is a work whose deeply personal nature has kept it in the shadows, and out of the limelight for more than a decade. </p> <blockquote> <p>"Tears are your protection</p> <p>Let the rivers flow</p> <p>Opposite directions</p> <p>Are the way to go."</p> </blockquote> <p>A considered slice of exposed reflection which has a poignancy laced with subdued angst and occasional flourishes of Tori Amos at her most hauntingly sorrowful, and yet it builds into some of the best epic flourishes that Pink Floyd would distill and deliver. A song that deserves to soar and fly along the arches and cloisters of a cathedral, and hopefully one day in the becoming future it will. "I Need A Change" is a bass-driven piece of pop flexibility and grace with an underlying operatic aria at play. A baroque elegance with a casual finesse it has a shuffle and bop vibe that works well with its inherent classicism. All draws to an end with "Moonlit Love" a torch song that weaves a "Moonlight Sonata" progression with the string driven opulence of Tomaso Albinoni and Samuel Barber. Dramatic and lilting it reaches high and then descends in a slow dive and goodbye; a piece that simply wanders away, quietly, understated and haunting.</p> <p>Clever without being irritating. Pomp devoid of pompousness, this is an album imbued with honesty, ambition and good humour. It is also an indication that THAT JOE PAYNE has arrived with a wealth of magical ideas. A splendid progression towards a new beginning.</p> <p><em>The album is released on August 7, 2020.</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3958&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="TYk4GMKrid7jwdfgepj-PdL-jMZwLb1LH5-k-hKtGhk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 24 Jul 2020 00:19:16 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3958 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3958#comments Swagger And Sway Beneath A Neon Glare http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3957 <span>Swagger And Sway Beneath A Neon Glare</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>July 22, 2020 - 11:48</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/792" hreflang="en">dream pop</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Zr5X2G5m6uk?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><em>Empire</em> - Arielle Dombasle &amp; Nicolas Ker (Paris Premiere/Barclay Records)</p> <p>Some albums are sublime confections. A perfect amalgam of style, poise and kookiness. One such venture is <em>Empire</em> the second explosion of songs from Nicolas Ker (Poni Hoax) and his muse <a href="http://culturecatch.com/podcast/arielle_dombasle">Arielle Dombasle</a>. At first sighting they are an unusual pairing, the French-Cambodian rocker and the respected actress/singer with the sultry voice and ghostly air. It shouldn't work, but does, quite perfectly. If you like your pop intelligent, riven with references and old fashioned elegance, then this is the confection for you. Like a cross between Nick Cave/Leonard Cohen, Ker drawls and intones, and Dombasle evokes Marie Laforet/Vanessa Paradis in her vocal slinks and quivers. An elegance and wit is at large. Tongue in chic and shooting perfectly from the hip. Think Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra exiled from LA in the French rain. It would all fall asunder if Ker wasn't such an astute creator and embroiderer of superb songs. The album, like many has been delayed because of the current world crisis, but has been well worth the wait and the anticipation, with the delicious confetti of videos to charm and insinuate an increased sense of desire. </p> <p>Proceedings launch with the jaunty "Humble Guy" a song that blends Ker's dulcet tones with Dombasle's piping and kittenish ease and a Sixties orchestration that suggests both London's Carnaby Street and a neon drenched interlude in Paris.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Humble guy thought he could win the bet. Shot for the stars, cast a silhouette."</p> </blockquote> <p>A lyric about a sense of failure, but one imbued with a delightful air of flippant sadness.</p> <p>"Twin Kingdom Valley" has a Kraftwerk reminiscent heartbeat motif and an air of louche decadence. A song of narcissistic trepidation, it twists effortlessly along and slowly fades away, whilst lingering and loitering long in the memory. "Desdemona" possesses a tremendously catchy marching band conceit that allows it to step along with a wonderful automaton inflection, as Ker's voice underpins things like a officer barking out commands whilst Dombasle pouts and soars.</p> <p><a href="http://culturecatch.com/node/3940">"Le Grand Hotel"</a> stands as the sole French sung confection. A mix akin to Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, neatly underpinned by violin. Evocative moody and bewitching, and as Dombasle delivers an effortlessly wan vocal, Ker anchors the song with his distinctive lower register. A near perfect slice of wayward despair.</p> <p>"Just Come Back Alive" contains a Giorgio Moroder-theme of European pop-disco textures, and a catchy hook, a catwalk sense of movement and odd riffs, before a subtle explosion of strings and drums, catchy and memorable it develops into an epic of almost cartoon-like proportions. </p> <blockquote> <p>"But I fall down on my knees</p> <p>I'm not even praying to anyone around</p> <p>Just come back to me</p> <p>And come back alive." </p> </blockquote> <p>A mixture of need, a plea, and a command. As assured as it is honest, and a curt expression of vulnerability.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dqPL5aYSH1g?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"Lost Little Girl" has a sweet, deceptive melody that rises and builds like The Stranglers did at their best. A strident confident song that flows and swerves in decided counterpoint to the tone of the words. There is an annoyingly infectious Euro-pop nod and wink in "The Palace Of The Virgin Queen" but it is effectively reigned in by an almost Rammstein heaviness, but it could still ignite like wildfire with its sparks of catchiness. A creation that should be remixed into an addiction for the ears, in all its dark and light nursery rhyme-like glory. More than faintly bonkers it has a life of its own that suggests the influence of the late Klaus Nomi. </p> <p>The appropriately named "A Simple Life" is a mixture of Baroque folk and Francoise Hardy '60's elegance and shows what a refined instrument Dombasle's voice is. It bridges a perfect quiet interlude in the midst of such stylised concision. Utterly beautiful, and with a timeless brevity, the piece glides and sways like a leaf falling in the breeze. </p> <p>"Deconstruction Of The Bride" unleashes a manic industrial filmic soundscape, a nightmare that flies above tinkling stabs of piano. A gothic panorama of the mind with a plethora of descending chords, it throbs and rises, and falls to again soar. Melding the likes of Ministry with Nine Inch Nails it betrays the breadth of shade that the album houses, without ever jarring the tonal landscape of its varied proceedings.</p> <p>With "The Drowning Ocean" we are treated to a Glam-like piano fueled epic, akin to Mott The Hoople's "All The Way From Memphis." An accomplished partial pastiche that presents itself as forceful plea to treat the world with respect, a rock ballad of exquisite ache and accomplishment, it departs with a welling wealth of poignant orchestration. </p> <blockquote> <p>"Cities sigh, cities moan.</p> <p>Fires burn by the side of the road.</p> <p>As we bleed, we bleed for the ocean."</p> </blockquote> <p>"Enter The Black Light" arrives like a subdued and smouldering piece of of mannered elegance. Prancing and preening in darkened majesty, this stands as a song haunted by Nick Cave's restrained and tempered sense of pomp, as it slithers like a snake recoiling into darkness.</p> <p>Finally "We Bleed For The Ocean" bewitches, an ethereal hymn for ecological sense, with a dirge-like beauty and Dombasle in the role of a warning siren. A fitting conclusion to a palette of finesse and splendid inspiration, and so the red velvet curtains, finally and quietly, swish together in conclusion.</p> <blockquote> <p>"We bleed for the stars and the skies.</p> <p>We could hear the sirens song</p> <p>Today we can't hear anything."</p> </blockquote> <p>Albums like <em>Empire</em> are rare. The visions it contains are wide but perfectly reigned in, and breathing, living proof that artistry remains a force we should cherish and desire in a world increasingly engulfed by auto-cued mediocrity. Splendidly, unashamedly romantic and decadent, this is a work that transcends its European origins by being universally appealing. Ker has a knack for distinctive and accomplished song-craft and in Dombasle he has the perfect counterpoint of light to illuminate his darkening scores. The whole thing exerts a sense of manicured madness, but never veers off the edge, and if it does it brings the listener back. All part of the exquisite journey. </p> <p>Here is an album that reveres its ghosts with kindness. Listen and you'll see them rise in their refined and haunting glory. And somewhere in the rain a blue neon sign crackles and dies</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3957&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="9IRa2IOtyC7y2mRCcs5k5zBtacNhKF6D_WMCM1baVFw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 22 Jul 2020 15:48:43 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3957 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3957#comments Baby Lies Truthfully http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3956 <span>Baby Lies Truthfully</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>July 20, 2020 - 14:28</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/875" hreflang="en">short film</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-vimeo video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/437445490?autoplay=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The world the poet and artist David Robilliard (1952-88)  lived and loved and died in, has all but vanished. His London was one of cheap places to crash and to go to. He relished it and his pen captured his surroundings like verbal polaroids. All tomorrow's parties happening as he drank and enjoyed his brief burst of fame and notoriety. Random faces he could fall in love with. A glance here and a nod there. Robilliard's eye and his heart was easily beguiled by a handsome profile. He drew and wrote his feeling down. The poetry is like random texts of visceral need. They have an urgency and an honesty still, and always will. </p> <p>Feelings don't change from generation to generation, and his short, sharp poignant shards of lust, the cost of it, and the emptiness that follows, are as relevant now as when he penned them. His point was about getting to the point. To ensnare the briefness and the intensity of the fleeting moment. His remains a unique poetic voice. Raw, honest and vulnerable for all the swagger and bravado, which was purely the self-protection such an attitude disguises. He didn't mind admitting that love hurt and came at a cost. It was usually a game at which he aspired to succeed in but like many, mostly lost. Hope buckled by reality and passing rejection.</p> <p>His friend the singer Holly Johnson always felt Robilliard had an air of Joe Orton about him. His poetry was championed by Gilbert &amp; George who published his first collection <em>Inevitable</em> in 1984. In short, he was an original outsider.</p> <p>The point that pricked the creative urge of the film maker Joe Ingham, was <em>The Cat's Pyjamas</em>. It was a book that he found reduced, David going cheap in artistic surroundings is an irony he would have cherished and embraced, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and it grabbed him by the soul.</p> <p>Robilliard died before Ingham was born but the thoughts he'd laid down, that his former partner Andrew Heard (1958-1993), his friend Catherine Hollens, and myself selected, were published for an exhibition of the same name in London in 1991. They reached beyond their time, and beguiled him. </p> <p>David Robilliard was a self-taught artist and the same applied to his poems. They tumbled out devoid of the need to conform to expectations. As such he never garnered interest in his brief life from the poetry establishment. He still doesn't, but once you get him he can be as annoyingly rewarding as a catchy song. In the final year of his life, ever the iconoclast, aware that mortality was around the corner waiting, his HIV status a reminder that it was then a terminal condition, he took to introducing himself as David RobiiliAIDS. He was not going quietly into that good night, and his was a talent to unsettle as much as it was to amuse..</p> <p>Ingham has, using vintage footage and the voice of the actor Russell Tovey to breathe pathos, venom and despair into the tapestry of selected poems and juddering images that haunt like memories, gone but recalled, above a perfectly realised and building soundscape by Helen Noir. The passage of time has not dulled their bite and the montage of old eroticism and cinema verite blends beautifully with the words. It is a short film that packs a far from affectionate punch. There is however joy in Robilliard's raw verbal emissions. An indication that we have have moved on but still feel pretty much as we always have. Taking chances, loving glances, gifting hope to a wish, a fleeting moment. Robilliard is to London what his direct contemporary Jean Michel Basquiat was to New York. A flash of colour, an explosion of talent and expression, and then gone. His words perfectly encapsulate something we all feel, but may be reluctant to express. They are honestly timeless, like a burst of urban haiku. His life requires a documentary and hopefully this touching film will be the spark to such a realisation.</p> <p><em>Baby Lies Truthfully </em>has a Warhol-like immediacy, with flashes of Derek Jarman's eclectic fleetingness. It gifts its subject a vibrancy, poignancy and grace, but also perfectly encapsulates the starkness of those darker days. David Robilliard was very much of his time, but was equally ahead of it. Somewhere in the future his uniqueness awaits a wider audience, but the vision applied by <a href="https://www.joeingham.com">Joe Ingham</a> perfectly allows for that destiny to thrive.</p> <p>A powerful and defiant piece of work, rather like the poet and artist that it seeks to celebrate, it lingers in the mind, as both a discovery and a celebration.</p> </div> <section> <a id="comment-2075"></a> <article data-comment-user-id="0" class="js-comment"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1596061301"></mark> <div> <h3><a href="/index.php/comment/2075#comment-2075" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Thank you</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This is, without doubt, one of the best reviews of my work I have ever had. Thank you so much Robert. Will share with Russell.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2075&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="Y0N5QVVU2CHpfwkGYA4rryuVYhAIvmxR2k9F99JXznA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/extra_small/public/default_images/avatar.png?itok=RF-fAyOX" width="50" height="50" alt="Generic Profile Avatar Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> <p>Submitted by <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Joseph Ingham</span> on July 29, 2020 - 07:14</p> </footer> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3956&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="vejoPpgGGUY6NmByt2vljLMQr4klcAIe1vJfpEAVR3Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 20 Jul 2020 18:28:31 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3956 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3956#comments A Short Talk with Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3955 <span>A Short Talk with Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/kathleen-cullen" lang="" about="/index.php/users/kathleen-cullen" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathleen Cullen</a></span> <span>July 11, 2020 - 09:43</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/203" hreflang="en">painter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2020/2020-07/black_matisse.jpg?itok=hfrlUvAT" title="black_matisse.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Mattise Negro</figcaption></figure><p>I recently viewed the work of Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave and the imagery piqued my interest in learning more about his work. I found this quote in relation to a solo show he had at the Bronx Museum in 2015.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Jeffrey Hargrave's work taps into his own memories of growing up in the midst of a sharply divided community. Hargrave translates his personal experiences into playful, yet biting images that mix art-history clichés and racial stereotypes. Ultimately, the artist seeks to engage the viewer in a dialogue on class and privilege based on a repertoire of familiar images." - Bronx Museum Director of Curatorial and Education Programs, Sergio Bessa</p> </blockquote> <p>I think the quote really encapsulates the work and had a chance to talk with the artist, who I found to be a wonderful storyteller. I wanted to share our discussion as his work and words are a timely reflection of life in America. </p> <p><strong>Kathleen Cullen:</strong> The show at the Bronx Museum was a strong success for you. As you revisit the quote from the curator what would you say if anything has changed in your work and message? </p> <p><strong>Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave: </strong>It still rings true to me now as it did then, perhaps even more so at our present moment.</p> <p>Growing up in "extreme poverty" was difficult, especially in a town of exorbitant wealth. In regards to my use of racial stereotypes, it's tricky. This is especially true in an age where monuments are being ripped down, airports are being re-named overnight and police are demonized nationwide. I paint from my heart along with my experiences. The one thing I've learned is that those who forget their past are sometimes doomed to repeat it.</p> <p><strong>Kathleen Cullen: </strong>Can you share with us what has influenced your work? Also what impact did your professional training have?</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave: </strong>Art History influences and informs my work. Funny, enough I failed Art History twice. The first time while a high school senior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and The second time at the Rhode Island School of Design. Perhaps this is why I'm so captivated by it now. Professional training helped significantly, especially in regards to learning new ways of thinking and how to engage critically with my fellow students and professors.</p> <p><strong>Kathleen Cullen: </strong>In your work you reference iconic images from Matisse to Disney. How do you choose these images and for what purpose?</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave: </strong>I try and select images that are most identifiable to Pop Culture.</p> <p>Then I filter images such as Mickey Mouse, through the lens of Black Culture.</p> <p><strong>Kathleen Cullen: </strong>In the past couple of years the art market had begun to focus on African American artists. Now it has been greatly shut down by Covid. In addition, the recent killing of George Floyd, has asked us all to re-examine our country's institutional racism. How have these factors affected your work in regards to your focus and the commercial aspects?</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave: </strong>Not much, I've dealt with work in relation to my experience as an African American man for decades now. </p> <p>Covid may have affected the art market, but I create so that I can better understand myself and relate to others through my work. I don't make art solely for the market.</p> <p><strong>Kathleen Cullen: </strong>You are currently developing a print edition. Can you tell us about that project and how you are developing the images and when they will be available?</p> <p><strong>Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave: </strong>I'm working with my art dealer, Greg Smith (Owner\Director) of Contemporary Art and Editions on an upcoming Print Portfolio. I would love to see my "Matisse Negro" in print edition form.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3955&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="E880UdDKNXDr3qAGvxHyhUr9ESfyLMx_HmnvZ01-KZ8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 11 Jul 2020 13:43:39 +0000 Kathleen Cullen 3955 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3955#comments What If God Were Made Out of Macaroni? http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3954 <span>What If God Were Made Out of Macaroni?</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>July 8, 2020 - 21:10</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/399" hreflang="en">documentary</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lrctO2NLWCo?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>When Sophia Loren insisted, "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti," she knew of what she spoke, possibly more than she might have imagined. You'll understand after seeing <i>Pastafari: A Flying Spaghetti Monster Story,</i> one of the more delicious, amusing, and relevant documentaries of the year.</p> <p>First, before we go on, we must ask, "What is religion?"</p> <p>According to the Supreme Court, religion is "a sincere and meaningful belief that occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to the place held by God in the lives of other persons." Hmmm. The First Amendment adds that Congress "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."</p> <p>Now let's jump to 2005 right after the Kansas Board of Education voted that the creationist theory of intelligent design must be taught side by side with evolution. You know that theory arguing a supernatural force had a hand in creating all life. Well, what if you had a divine revelation right then like Bobby Henderson, a young scientist, did? At 24, he suddenly became aware that a spiritual being, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), created the world and that somehow pirates were involved. And that when you were not dressed up in pirate gear, this god wanted you to wear a colander on your head. Was this by definition the beginning of a new tax-exempt institution? If you yelled, "No way!" how can you tell a fake religion from a real one? And who would jump on this macaroni-based spiritual journey?</p> <p>Well, due to the power of the Internet and media coverage, there are now untold multitudes of Pastafarians spreading the gospel of "He who boiled for our sins." From Germany to New Zealand, there are even millions, some FSM-ers avow, possibly utilizing the Trumpian method of counting. And surprisingly, some foreign courts have even ruled that by their laws' requirements, here is a bona-fide religion.</p> <p>Thanks to Mike Arthur's deft direction, what at first seems just a Monty-Python-like fun fest actually becomes an in-depth take on religious institutions, their hold on governments, plus some of their worst offenses. By the end credits, you might even ask, "Why do we believe what we believe? And when we point out the inanities of others’ religious beliefs, shouldn’t we admit to the looniness within our own?"</p> <p>But back to Pastafarianism and <i>The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. </i>A quote from way up high: "I'd really rather you didn't go around telling people I talk to you. You're not that interesting. Get over yourself, and I told you to love your fellow man. Can you take a hint?" I'm sure Job would have preferred that putdown from his Lord as to getting boils and having his family decimated.</p> <p>Anyway, this newish church also has weekly gatherings, where one devotee notes: "We celebrate noodle masses and we baptize our children with noodle water." Then there's the wedding ceremonies where a couple sucks on opposite sides of a strand of spaghetti until their lips meet in a kiss.</p> <p>Kathy Gilsinan in a major feature in <i>The Atlantic</i> a few years back wrote: "Along the way, something funny happened to a movement founded in large part to critique organized religion: It’s gotten organized, and has taken on both the trappings and some of the social functions of a real religion."</p> <p>Dirk Jan, a legal consultant who was raised a Christian and now is a leading advocate of this faith, wants to know how believing in the parting of the Red Sea is any crazier than praying to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. His brethren note that this theology is a nonviolent one with no rules. You don't have to pray. You don't have to attend services, but you can. You also don't have to worry about going to Hell or being punished for spiritual lapses. There are guidelines, though, that supply you with a moral compass. Please note:</p> <blockquote> <p>"When you are good in society, you are a good Pastafarian."</p> </blockquote> <p>And when you inspire a great film, who's going to doubt you?</p> <p><b>[Available digitally starting this week on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, </b><b>Frontier, Suddenlink, Mediacom, WOW! </b><b>and Vimeo.]</b></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3954&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="ca7XtiZBmw6oTsONSfjROgka9XCswzguujjwY4eWFBI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 09 Jul 2020 01:10:35 +0000 Brandon Judell 3954 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3954#comments Short Talk With Jen Dragon http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3953 <span>Short Talk With Jen Dragon</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/kathleen-cullen" lang="" about="/index.php/users/kathleen-cullen" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathleen Cullen</a></span> <span>June 30, 2020 - 19:45</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/819" hreflang="en">art conversation</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2020/2020-07/jen_dragon_at_brenda_goodman_exhibit-_sikkema_jenkins.jpg?itok=PW0E7Vn6" width="1200" height="900" alt="Thumbnail" title="jen_dragon_at_brenda_goodman_exhibit-_sikkema_jenkins.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Katharine T. Carter &amp; Associates has a long established history in marketing artists and launching careers. Recently Jen Dragon joined this company as the Associate Director of Special Projects at Katharine T. Carter &amp; Associates, overseeing the social media and digital marketing division. Given the huge shift to online galleries because of the health concern I thought it was timely to speak to Jen about this exciting synergy.</p> <p><strong>Kathleen Cullen:</strong> Tell us how you first came to know Katharine T. Carter and when the collaboration became an idea.</p> <p><strong>Jen Dragon:</strong> Before I started working with Katharine, I had a brick-and-mortar gallery in Saugerties called Cross Contemporary Art. I first heard of Katharine before we met as she has an impressive reputation in the artmarketing field. One day, an art critic was visiting the gallery and needed a ride to her office in Kinderhook to see an artist's work. I volunteered to drive him as an excuse to meet her. On our visit, she insisted we drive nearby to visit Jack Shainman’s School as well as Art Omi. About a year after that magical afternoon, I decided to close my gallery space and take on curatorial projects and digital marketing for my artists. Coincidently, I heard she was looking for a new associate, and I applied. I have been with KTC since Sept. 2019. KTC was interested in my consulting with her company to build on-line marketing strategies that would be indispensable for her clients. This collaboration culminated in the co-creation of Cross Contemporary Partners</p> <p><strong>KC:</strong> In this collaboration, given the strengths of both your backgrounds, what do you feel the mission of this division of your company will be? And how will that be different from other programs and services you offer?</p> <p><strong>JD: </strong>Katharine has a solid background in guiding artists' careers, securing exhibitions in museums and other non-profit spaces, as well as building their reputations in the art world. My skills are different. I understand how to grow the artist's "digital footprint" through social media. Our mission remains the same: serving the career growth of our artist clients through the multiple platforms in our toolbox. For Katharine, it is her 35 year relationships with curators, her knowledge and practiced eye; for me, it is my background in Online Marketing and experience as a gallerist. It is the combination of our respective talents that provides artists with a complete 21st Century marketing strategy.</p> <p><strong>KC: </strong>Given the change in the art world with the recent pandemic, what is the business model of the new company? How is this different from what you had originally intended?  </p> <p><strong>JD: </strong>The Pandemic has created a sense of urgency. By launching Cross Contemporary Partners, the new division at Katharine T. Carter &amp; Associates, we effectively address the current challenges faced by the art world and its sudden shift to the internet. This was the ideal moment to develop Cross Contemporary Partners because technology and new ideas are emerging daily which offer elegant viewing rooms, 3-D galleries, virtual studio visits via Zoom, and Instagram LIVE… and we plan to incorporate this and much more into what we do for artists! However, we intend to maintain the tactile aspect of marketing: utilizing elegant catalogues with essays by leading art critics and curators, providing high quality color reproduction, supportive written correspondence in a highly professional presentation delivered directly to art professionals across the country as a prelude to the actual art installation in a museum. This traditional approach has led to securing over 1000 exhibitions nationwide. </p> <p><strong>KC: </strong>Together you have unique perspectives at both curating and marketing.  Going forward, given that it's now a collaboration, how will you select the artists that you represent and still maintain your individual voices?</p> <p><strong>JD: </strong>We generally see eye-to-eye on almost everything regarding aesthetics and marketing logistics. Katharine has is an encyclopedic knowledge of artists and their work, museum directors and curators, and more often than not, knows them personally. Her team of Associates is comprised of leading critics, curators, designers, videographers and technicians working in tandem to achieve desired results; my skillset is more connected to the nuts and blots of art handling and installation, gallery management and using digital marketing to promote artist events. Where we dovetail is in the effectiveness of our presentation formats and marketing focus: hitting the high notes respectively as we draw attention to our artists and their work. Katharine knows how to tangibly guide their careers and I know how to digitally support events, engaging audiences for exhibitions, and creating gallery interest for potential representation and sales.</p> <p><strong>KC: </strong>Indulge us with a show that you would love to do without concerns of social distancing or economics? Please provide us with the details?</p> <p><strong>JD: </strong>Ideally, we would love to curate an exhibition of our Cross Contemporary Partners artists: Anne Hieronymus, Sol Hill, Kaethe Kauffman, Victoria Lowe, Deborah Masters, John Lyon Paul, Nancy Macko,<b> </b>Francie Lyshak, Robert Mango, Bobbie Moline-Kramer, and Martin Weinstein in a huge industrial building with 20 foot high ceilings. But because of the pandemic, we are instead installing their work in our new 3-D virtual gallery space hosted by Kunstmatrix in Berlin which realistically replicates the look and feel of the actual gallery or museum experience. To prepare for the CCP launch and our new 3-D gallery space, we have been curating an online exhibition fundraiser for the Woodstock Film Festival. For 24 years, the WFF has been the lynchpin for arts and culture in our region contributing over time more than 250 million dollars to sustaining economic viability in our area. If we lose this event, we lose a lot! Katharine and I have reached out to every painter, sculptor and printmaker we know to create an online benefit sale. Our artists responded to our call and have generously donated amazing work to support the festival, and more art just keeps coming! You can visit the growing exhibition listings on Artsy here: <a href="http://bit.ly/wffbenefit20" target="_blank">http://bit.ly/wffbenefit20</a> and we will launch the virtual 3-D gallery on June 19th. </p> </div> <section> <a id="comment-2047"></a> <article data-comment-user-id="0" class="js-comment"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1594257822"></mark> <div> <h3><a href="/index.php/comment/2047#comment-2047" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Congratulations!</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Yeah, Jen.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2047&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="eWmDcTaE5L92YI5QNaVQ4cl9rRBoLvwp9ip5cKrHNaw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/extra_small/public/default_images/avatar.png?itok=RF-fAyOX" width="50" height="50" alt="Generic Profile Avatar Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> <p>Submitted by <a rel="nofollow" href="https://greenkill.substack.com/p/fred-duignan-exhibition-july-2020" lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fred Duignan</a> on July 7, 2020 - 12:37</p> </footer> </article> <a id="comment-2049"></a> <article data-comment-user-id="0" class="js-comment"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1594257792"></mark> <div> <h3><a href="/index.php/comment/2049#comment-2049" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Katherine Carter</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>I have the utmost respect for Katherine T. Carter and her associates, all top notch. First met her in Northampton, MA in the early '90's at Hart Gallery for a talk and followed by a studio visit also did an excursion to NYC galleries another time. I've used what she taught me now for decades.<br /> Jen, I've been following you since Millicent Young exhibited at your gallery. It seems your timing couldn't have been better with the need for quality virtual exhibitions.<br /> It may be time to reconnect, so glad Jen you working with her organization.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=2049&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="2sEG4LUADQnXzsiBFS49RPI09gW02uS4EAGdUT9lh-Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/extra_small/public/default_images/avatar.png?itok=RF-fAyOX" width="50" height="50" alt="Generic Profile Avatar Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> <p>Submitted by <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Terry Rooney</span> on July 8, 2020 - 12:55</p> </footer> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3953&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="OjSMgHJuvrMBQtGZwR13S5VL5_GVT3biIOGEfnE5f-8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 23:45:43 +0000 Kathleen Cullen 3953 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3953#comments The Transformative Powers of Chemo-Girl http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3952 <span>The Transformative Powers of Chemo-Girl</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>June 25, 2020 - 10:57</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/797" hreflang="en">drama</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M6E8gPmz7n4?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><i>Babyteeth</i>, a highly quirky, Australian disease-of-the-week dramedy, surprisingly delivers the goods by its finale. About ten minutes before the end credits roll, you might actually experience a really major lump in your throat and a sizeable eye-watering. Not bad at all for a play adaptation that, although unerringly cast, still comes off at times as a series of stage scenes stitched together.</p> <p>Which reminds me of when <i>The New Yorker</i>'s<i> </i>Pauline Kael, after viewing <i>Jaws,</i> had a drink with a weathered Hollywood director. Noting her amazement at how the then-young Steven Spielberg toyed with the film frame, her date responded, "He must never have seen a play; he's the first one of us who doesn’t think in terms of the proscenium arch."</p> <p>Here, helmer Shannon Murphy seldom lets you forget that playwright Rita Kalnejais's adaption of her own work was once proscenium-arch bound. Each scene is labeled. "Anna and Henry's Tuesday Appointment," "When Milla Brought Moses Home to Meet Her Parents," and "Relapse, Milla Starts Chemo" are a few examples. If you blink during the last listing, you might be thrown for a loop when the heroine shows up suddenly with a bald head.</p> <p>The storyline is rather simple. Milla (Eliza Scanlen), an uptight 15-year-old lass with violin case in hand, is awaiting a train with her schoolmates. As the engine huffs into the station, Moses (Toby Wallace), a 23-year-old drug addict with splotchy skin and worse tattoos, rushes past Milla, giving her a hefty shove as he seemingly wants to throw himself against the moving vehicle. He's seeking a rush, and by doing so, he inadvertently crashes through Milla's staidness. She's instantly infatuated, especially after her nose starts bleeding and the lad takes off his unlaundered shirt and gives it to her as a hanky.</p> <p>Meanwhile back on the home front, Anna (Essie Davis) and Henry (Ben Mendelsohn), Milla's mom and dad, are playing at patient and therapist, their foreplay leading to a bout of afternoon intercourse. Henry, who actually is a psychiatrist, thinks nothing of answering a phone mid-orgasm and conversing about his clientele, "Really! Can you get her last MRI scan ready for me?"  No wonder Anna is loaded up on Ativan, Zoloft, and several other anti-anxiety pills.</p> <p>What follows are a series of off-the-wall incidents that seem to be begging for a laugh track and an 8:30 time slot on a Tuesday night. Case in point, Henry meets his highly pregnant, sexy neighbor who's lost her dog whose name happens to be Henry, too.  Consequently, every time she shouts for her pet, guess who turns around? Bet you can't wait until the human Henry haphazardly changes her lightbulb. Or the scene where Anna makes breakfast for the unshowered Moses after he breaks into the family home to steal drugs and threatens her with a kitchen knife.</p> <p>But interspersed among these rather silly carryings-on are genuinely superb moments such as when in the school bathroom, a classmate asks to try on Milla's wig.  After at first demurring, Milla hands over her blonde locks, revealing her vulnerable scalp. Then quietly she edges into a wall so as not to appear exposed in the selfie her posing pal is taking.</p> <p>Throughout, even in the tonally outlandish moments, the acting is first rate, which is not surprising if you've seen Scalen in <i>Little Women</i>, Davis in <i>The Babadook</i>, and Mendelsohn in everything he's done. Newcomer Wallace has also been garnering acclaim for his performance.</p> <p>What's odd, though, yet intriguing is that there are several moments where Milla brazenly breaks the fourth wall and looks at us directly. She seems to be stating she has everything and everyone under control no matter how much it might seem otherwise. This Milla is going to live life to the fullest and bend it to her demands. She simply doesn't know how to lose.</p> <p><b>(On Amazon Prime and On Demand.)</b></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3952&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="YrZEbNGJU0bK2AFemYJfrqOCXDEwQ20N6lElEEFdtI8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 25 Jun 2020 14:57:26 +0000 Brandon Judell 3952 at http://culturecatch.com http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3952#comments